With sustainability on the rise and gaining momentum, there are a lot of flooring options available that are eco-friendly. However, not all floors are created equal, we must be cautious of companies greenwashing and labelling their flooring product as green or eco-friendly when it really isn’t. This is why we are sharing five factors to consider when searching for eco-friendly flooring so you can select the floor that is perfect for your space – and meets your sustainability requirements.
We start with low-VOC levels because we see it everywhere when shopping for flooring, but what exactly does it stand for and mean? Well, VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds, and they are the chemicals that are produced by industrial manufacturing. Products with a high-VOC produce off-gas which is harmful to humans and our environment.
Tip: Look for products with no VOC or with low-VOC levels.
What happens when your floors reach the end of their life-cycle? Can the material be recycled and turned into something new or repurposed for another use, or is the final destination a landfill?
Many homeowners do not ask themselves these questions when shopping for new flooring. However, it is a key aspect to consider and keep in mind when you are researching and looking for your perfect flooring. Your decision could have a lasting negative impact on the environment long after you remove the flooring if it cannot be recycled.
Tip: Buy flooring that can be recycled or repurposed. Or buy flooring that is made from recycled products. Carpet is a great example for this because most of it ends up in a landfill. Manufacturers like Mohawk are producing carpet made entirely from recycled bottles, plus it is low VOC.
Fortunately, there are a lot of flooring products that are produced from renewable resources. These include hardwood, cork, natural stone & wool carpet, just to name a few. Renewable resources are ones that can be replenished. For example, natural wool is the ultimate renewable fiber, as sheep grow wool continuously and are shorn every 9 – 12 months, then they return to the pastures to grow more wool.
Although there are a lot of products made from renewable resources, it does not always mean that those resources are being renewed or even harvested responsibly (hello greenwashing).
Tip: look for manufacturers that are third-party certified to ensure their practices are sustainable.
Place of Origin
Flooring and the resources needed to manufacture flooring come from all over the world. Transporting flooring and materials negatively impacts our environment due to the carbon emissions produced from shipping. This is why we need to consider where the flooring came from.
Tip: Although the materials and resources needed to manufacture the floors are most likely sourced oversees, try to look for products produced in North America or even better, in Canada. (Beaulieu Canada carpet is proudly manufactured right here in Canada)
Why is durability important to consider? Well, the more durable your floor is, the longer it will last! If your floor offers a longer useful life-cycle, then you don’t need to replace your floor as often, which in turn reduces your waste and adds value as you save money.
Tip: Choose something durable enough to withstand your home and lifestyle. Also, consider opting for something more traditional and timeless instead of something that is currently trending. Trends change fast and if you like to keep up with them, you could be creating a lot of waste in the process.
For more tips on shopping for eco-friendly flooring, be sure to check out our blog post a Buyers Guide to Eco Friendly Flooring.